Friday, December 29

BLYGAD's New Digs

Blog Like You Give a Damn will be under construction over the next couple of days but I think that, if you keep your hardhats on, there shouldn't be much trouble getting around the site.

In fact, once I'm finished, it will be easier then ever to find the content you are looking for. The biggest changes are that Blogger has improved their archive system and added a new post tagging feature; both can be seen in the sidebar to your right.

The new collapsible archive system will allow you to search the stacks with ease while the tags will let you view all of the Friday Photography posts at once, or to read all 13 installments of Sishir Chang's Tsunami Recovery in Thailand in one place (well, 10 out of 13 at least... for now).

The other changes will be purely cosmetic, as I play around with the look of the site a little bit. Thanks for your patience, and feel free to drop me a line and let me know what works and what doesn't.


Thursday, December 28

Pamphlet Architecture 29 | Last Call

The deadline for Pamphlet Architecture's annual competition is quickly approaching: January 16, 2007. They are looking for the best designs, manifestos, ideas, theories, ruminations, hopes, and insights for the future of the designed and built world -- to be published as the next Pamphlet, number 29.

It would be great to see some socially/ environmentally conscious humanitarian work in Pamphlet. Pamphlet Architecture 27, Tooling, was beautiful to look at and intellectually stimulating but would have done a world of good for absolutely nobody.

In Tooling, Benjamin Aranda and Chris Lasch propose a new gateway for the city of Las Vegas:

"Its a place where one can play slots, roulette, get married, see a show, have your car washed, drive up an observatory and ride through a tunnel of love, all without ever leaving your car. Its the first gamble in and the last chance out, a compact Vegas enjoyed at 55 miles per hour."

[Image: Aranda/Lasch, from Tooling]

It's not that I can't appreciate this type of design work, I just don't see how a 10 mile concrete spiral for cars is either essential or urgent. On the other hand, read with tongue in cheek, there is a possibility that Tooling could actually be taken as a ironic commentary on the sad state American architecture. Geoff Manaugh's thoughts on Tooling, and the conversation that followed, were particularly entertaining.

If you'd like to read about how to submit your work to Pamphlet, click here.

Friday, December 22

Holiday Like You Give A Damn


Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or just the fact that you get a couple days off from work, Blog Like You Give a Damn and the folks from Architecture for Humanity | Minnesota would like to wish everybody out there a Happy Holiday. I hope you enjoy this brief seasonal miscellany:

Changing the Present
Americans spend 250 billion dollars every year just buying each other gifts. Imagine what would happen if we could capture just a portion of that and direct it into worldchanging organizations and charities.

OK, now stop imagining, and check out

ChangingThePresent envisions a new way to show someone you care. Rather then buy dad a new electric shaver, why not clear 10 square meters of a minefield for him ($30) or help feed an HIV patient for 6 months for him ($60). There are several hundred charities to choose from and ChangingThePresent has put them all at your fingertips, so matter who you are gifting, you will find a cause you can both be proud of.

[Via WorldChanging]

2 New Magazines That Give a Damn (Great Gift Ideas)
GOOD Magazine (6 issues) - $20 (The full amount of your subscription fee goes to the charitable organization of your choice.)

Mission: "While so much of today's media is taking up our space, dumbing us down, and impeding our productivity, GOOD exists to add value. Through a print magazine, feature and documentary films, original multimedia content and local events, GOOD is providing a platform for the ideas, people, and businesses that are driving change in the world."

NEED Magazine (4 issues) - $27.

Mission: "NEED magazine is an artistic hope-filled publication focusing on life changing humanitarian efforts at home and abroad. NEED magazine reveals the remarkable stories of people involved throughout the entire humanitarian aid process: survivors, workers, funders, and heroes. NEED magazine's dynamic visual narrative is not only compelling, but also drives awareness, involvement, personal connection, and contributions."
[Thanks for the heads up Maureen!]

Ikea Gives the Gift of Non-Gasoline Dependent Transportation
Ikea UK has given all 9,000 of it's employees a new bicycle for Christmas, as well as a 15% subsidy on public transportation. "The bike is a fun present but there is a serious message. We all have a responsibility to do what we can to protect the environment," says Ikea's UK manager, Peter Hogsted.

In addition to charging for the use of plastic bags and giving customers the option of planting a tree for one extra dollar when they check out, Ikea seems to be one international corporation that "gets it." More power to them!

Happy Holidays! See you in the New Year!

Tuesday, December 19

Cities of the Poor

I caught the tail-end of this great program on PRI's The World earlier this afternoon. Cities of the Poor is a four part series taking an in-depth look at the circumstances that created the global slum phenomenon and what can be done to help improve life in these new informal mega-cities.

Today's installment by Sheri Fink focused on what life is like in one of Kenya's largest slums: Kibera (possibly the largest slum in Africa), it is the first of four installments. A complete transcript and photos by Fink are included. I believe you can catch the remaining three installments Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday on PRI's The World.